Biologists view Protected Areas (PAs) as natural areas established and managed primarily for the conservation of nature. However, many early Pas were established for aesthetic or socio-economic reasons and received little scientific input to their design. More recently, scientists have identified gaps in PA networks and various contemporary PAs have been established to provide for habitats and species in need of protection.
Scientists have also modelled minimum areas and population sizes that should be protected to prevent extinctions arising from demographic or chance causes. However, these theoretical ideals are difficult to put into practice, particularly as PAs increasingly face more immediate external threats. If scientists are to influence future PA design, and if PAs are to succeed in the long term, these concepts must be applied in practice. Therefore, sufficient protection must be integrated with human needs and aspirations in the design of future protected areas.
National Parks and other protected areas not only provide a safe haven for biodiversity, they provide benefits to local communities and preserve some of the most beautiful places on our planet. ‘Coverage of protected areas’ is also a specific indicator in the 2010 Target of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Obtaining the data necessary to monitor trends in protected areas requires a massive effort by national authorities to compile, analyse and then distribute this data to the centralised depository of the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA). With a living and growing system of protected areas that now exceed 100,000 sites covering 19 million square kilometres, you can imagine that this is no small task!
Through the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the world’s governments recently adopted a target to protect at least 17% of the global land area by 2020. This paper evaluates current levels of protection for mountains at multiple scales. It shows that the CBD’s 17% target has already been almost met at a global scale: 16.9% of the world’s mountain areas outside Antarctica fall within protected areas. However, protection of mountain areas at finer scales remains uneven and is largely insufficient, with 63% (125) of countries, 57% (4) of realms, 67% (8) of biomes, 61% (437) of ecoregions and 53% (100) of Global 200 priority ecoregions falling short of the target. The CBD target also calls for protected areas to be focussed “especially [at] areas of particular importance for biodiversity”. Important Bird Areas and Alliance for Zero Extinction sites represent existing global networks of such sites. It is therefore of major concern that 39% and 45% respectively of these sites in mountain areas remain entirely unprotected. Achievement of the CBD target in mountain regions will require more focused expansion of the protected area network in addition to enhanced management of individual sites and the wider countryside in order to ensure long term conservation of montane biodiversity and the other ecosystem services it provides.Resource Type: Journal Papers
Protected areas can act as a case study for REDD: lessons can be learnt from their success or otherwise in reducing deforestation and supporting local livelihoods. Further research into the most effective management and governance frameworks for acheiving goals on carbon emissions, biodiversity and communities, and the extent to which protected areas reduce (or merely displace) deforestation within national boundaries would be useful in informing REDD implementation.Resource Type: Journal Papers
Between 2000 and 2005, we estimate that 1.75 million ha of forest were lost from protected areas in humid tropical forests, causing the emission of 0.25–0.33 Pg C. Protected areas lost about half as much carbon as the same area of unprotected forest. We estimate that the reduction of these carbon emissions from ongoing deforestation in protected sites in humid tropical forests could be valued at USD 6,200–7,400 million depending on the land use after clearance. This is > 1.5 times the estimated spending on protected area management in these regions. Improving management of protected areas to retain forest cover better may be an important, although certainly not sufficient, component of an overall strategy for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD).Resource Type: Journal Papers
Protected areas are one of the cornerstones for conserving the world's remaining biodiversity, most of which occurs in tropical forests. We use multiple sources of satellite data to estimate the extent of forest habitat and loss over the last 20 years within and surrounding 198 of the most highly protected areas (IUCN status 1 and 2) located throughout the world's tropical forests. In the early 1980s, surrounding habitat in the 50-km unprotected or less highly protected 'buffers' enhanced the protected areas' effective size and their capacity to conserve richness of forest-obligate species above the hypothetical case of complete isolation. However, in nearly 70 of the surrounding buffers, the area of forest habitat declined during the last 20 years, while 25 experienced declines within their administrative boundaries.Resource Type: Journal Papers
This study presents a global analysis of forest cover and forest protection. An updated Global Forest Map (using MODIS2005) provided a current assessment of forest cover within 20 natural forest types. This map was overlaid onto WWF realms and ecoregions to gain additional biogeographic information on forest distribution. Using the 2008 World Database on Protected Areas, percentage forest cover protection was calculated globally, within forest types, realms and ecoregions, and within selected areas of global conservation importance.
Results have policy relevance in terms of the target of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), reconfirmed in 2008, to effectively conserve “at least 10% of each of the world’s forest types”. Regular updates of these analyses would allow progress towards achieving that target to be monitored.Resource Type: Journal Papers
With a view to the future, the book points the reader to the Mountain Biodiversity Portal (http://www.mountainbiodiversity.org) that has just been launched by the GMBA and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). This tool has the potential to greatly facilitate access to mountain biodiversity data because it allows users to find GBIF data for specific elevational and thermal belts within their region of interest. A very similar tool already allows users of the World Database on Protected Areas (http://www.wdpa.org) to find GBIF data for a protected area of interest. Thanks to these collaborative efforts, researchers will increasingly get the data they require without the need to carry out time-consuming overlays of species and other data sets for their region of interest. The GMBA/GBIF Mountain Biodiversity Portal is a fine example for the technical possibilities of our time and will certainly help to further stimulate the creative use of georeferenced biodiversity data promoted by this book.Resource Type: Journal Papers
As the importance of mountain spaces is more widely recogised, it seems necessary to establish a coherent definition of these spaces. The UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) proposed the first global delineation in 2000. However, certain European countries have used national definitions of mountain spaces since the 1950s. Within the framework of social and economic integration policies at the heart of the European Union, an agreed delineation of European mountain spaces has been established, based on the definition proposed by UNEP-WCMC. The process of adaptation of the global definition to the European context is described, as well as the results for 29 European countries.Resource Type: Journal Papers
This brief note suggests that Laurance and Venter’s proposal to replace developing countries’ role in the process of monitoring forest carbon stocks for the REDD programme may not be in the long-term interests of promoting reduced emissions from forests in developing countries.Resource Type: Journal Papers
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